MPs to consider amendments to PM’s Brexit deal after defeats in Lords

MPs will consider amendments to the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal after the Government was defeated five times by defiant peers.

The House of Lords backed two more amendments to the European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – or WAB – in a mauling for ministers on Tuesday.

It followed three defeats on Monday on the rights of EU workers legally residing in the UK to have physical proof of their right to remain and the power of courts to depart from European Court of Justice rulings.

In the latest reverses, the Government was heavily defeated as peers backed a move to ensure the rights of unaccompanied child refugees to be reunited with their families in the UK post-Brexit.

Voting was 300 to 220, majority 80, in a fourth defeat for the Prime Minister in just 24 hours.

Later, the Government suffered a fifth as peers narrowly backed a move underlining the commitment to the so-called Sewel Convention, which states that the UK Parliament “will not normally” legislate for devolved matters without the consent of the devolved legislature affected.

Voting on this Opposition-led amendment was 239 to 235, majority four.

With Brexit day looming on January 31, the Bill, which was passed with large majorities by MPs earlier this month, will have to return to the Commons for further scrutiny on Wednesday.

Up to an hour has been allocated for the debate, according to the Order Paper.

The Prime Minister looks certain to overturn all the defeats using his 80-strong majority.

It will then be up to peers to decide whether to prolong the bout of parliamentary ping-pong or bow to the will of the elected House, which seems the most likely.

Labour, Liberal Democrat and independent crossbench peers ignored repeated ministerial warnings not to amend the Bill, insisting their objection was not to stop Brexit but to ensure the legislation was better drafted.

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